Dog bites can be painful and bring sizable medical costs. They are also far more common than may be realized. There are over 80 million dogs in the U.S., and according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), almost 4.5 million dog bite incidents occur each year, (which probably understate the problem, since CDC research on the subject is at least 10 years old, and other studies show dog bites increasing in both number and severity in recent years).
The American Humane Association says that children under age 12 were bitten in half of dog attacks; emergency room records show dog bites are the fifth most common cause for children’s emergency room visits.
About 20% of dog bites cause injuries serious enough to require medical attention, and over 1,000 emergency room visits are made each day nationwide for treatment of bog bites. Over 27,000 people had reconstructive surgery in 2012 to repair injuries from dog bites, and dog attacks accounted for 37 deaths in 2012. The Florida Department of Health says on average two deaths occur in the state each year due to dog bite injuries, and more than 600 Floridians are hospitalized each year with injuries from dog bites.
Florida law makes dog owners liable for damages for attacks by their animals in public locations, or in private location (for example, the dog owner’s property), as long as the bite victim was there lawfully. It is not necessary for the dog to have previously shown viciousness or been regarded as dangerous. But if the dog’s owner has posted the property with a warning about the dog, the owner will not be liable, except if the victim is younger than six.
If a dog bite victim’s own negligence contributed to the injury, that will reduce, but not eliminate, the dog owner’s liability (children six and older may not be subject to that rule, if they were unable to understand the danger of the situation). Landlords who know of vicious dogs on their property, but fail to provide reasonable protection to tenants or guests, may also be liable for dog bites.
Consult a Central Florida Lawyer Experienced with Dog Bite Injuries
If you, or someone in your family, has been injured by a dog bite or other animal attack, you know traumatic that can be; significant medical and therapy costs may also be involved, as well as lost income and other damages. To protect your interests, and receive what you are due, contact the King Firm for a free consultation.